Definition of a Dean (Vol. 2, Issue 1)
Yeshiva College must eventually choose a dean to administrate the policies of the institution and to serve as intermediary between students and faculty and the administration. To the student body as well as to the general academic world, he will be an official spokesman for the college. In view of the grave responsibilities of such a position it is imperativ that we consider carefully the qualifications we would demand of our dean.
He must, to begin with, represent in his own person the highest synthesis of Torah Judaism with modern secular culture, the attainment of which is the goal set for Yeshiva College. His personal life must be led in accordance with the ideals and religious principles of Orthodox Judaism. He must possess a background in Jewish culture as thorough as that which he would be expected to have in secular culture. His general outlook must be one of a man keenly responsive to the shifting winds of contemporary life though steeped in the great traditions of Jewish past.
The dean must not be a mere scholar, a figurehead occupying a high academic position. His job demands a capable and efficient administrator who will so organize the college office that routine matters may be disposed of with dispatch, thus enabling the dean to have the necessary contacts with the individual students. He must be capable of asserting his authority with the dignity and tact befitting his office.
It is finally of prime importance that the dean be tolerant and of a sympathetic nature, one who can always be approached by the students and who can gain their confidence. He must understand and be able to approach special problems and conflicts of the American Yeshiva student.
It is to the dean that students expect to come to for advice concerning their academic career, for suggestions as to courses, majors, and fields of concentration; at times even for aid in solving some irksome intellectual or ideological problem.
We admit that it will be difficult to discover a man possessing all these qualifications. Certainly, we haven’t found him as yet. This fact, however, should only cause the authorities to exert greater efforts in their search for a dean.
Let it be clear from the outset that no compromise with these demands is possible if Yeshiva is to progress smoothly toward the achievement of its purpose.